The Dawn Project won't back down until FSD is no more.
Tesla's Full Self-Driving (FSD) technology has to be one of the most controversial features on the automotive scene. It's drawn plenty of criticism, with no voice louder than that of Dan O'Dowd. If you're not aware, O'Dowd is a billionaire software entrepreneur who has a strong hate for Tesla's self-driving system.
He loathes it so much that he started a foundation called the Dawn Project, which aims to expose all the flaws of FSD and the safety risks behind it. Recently, O'Dowd released a video showing a Tesla Model 3 running over children-sized mannequins and claimed this was proof Musk's vehicles "will indiscriminately mow down children."
On the organization's website, an open statement asks Elon Musk to publically test FSD at a test track with mannequins. A quote from O'Dowd reads, "Elon, this is for all the marbles. It's time to bet your product, your technology, your reputation, your credibility, [and] your engineering prowess against mine. Are you brave enough to come out and defend your product?"
We're guessing Musk is unbothered by this. The Tesla CEO responded to a tweet from WholeMarsCatalog, which shared a screenshot from the Dawn Project's website. It essentially accuses the aforementioned account of being a "Tesla agent" that is "motivated by greed." In his typically nonplussed way, Musk replied by calling the organization "crazy."
Not one to miss a beat, O'Dowd used the opportunity to challenge Musk publically. The tweet, seen above, reads, "I'm ... crazy enough to challenge Master Scammer Musk to ride in a Tesla in FSD mode through our course without hitting a child mannequin or touching the controls. Bring the media, bring regulators, bring the whole world to witness the biggest nerd smackdown of the century!"
While we understand that FSD certainly has its issues, it seems this has become a battle of the egos, billionaire edition. If the Dawn Project's statement is to be understood correctly, O'Dowd will proceed with the test, whether Musk is in attendance or not (we're betting on the latter).
"This issue will finally be settled by a public demonstration of Tesla Full Self-Driving's safety defects in a rigorous test in front of the world with cameras everywhere, every detail checked by all parties," it reads.
In the interests of impartiality, we must note that Tesla's FSD isn't what you'd call perfect. In February, a video went viral after it showed a Tesla careening toward a cyclist for no apparent reason, while FSD was engaged. This was followed by a succession of clips displaying rather erratic driving on the technology's part.
However, O'Dowd's desire to do away with FSD no longer feels like it comes from a place of safety. Interestingly, his previous test was deemed inadmissible after it was found that the system wasn't even active during the test. Perhaps this is O'Dowd's way to redeem himself and soothe his ego.
"Will [FSD] save lives or does it try to kill its driver, passengers, and innocent bystanders? Is Full Self-Driving going to live up to its name this year, or will Elon Musk's pronouncements of [fully] autonomous driving within a year end in failure - as they have for the last eight years? It's time to find out," he added.